The Cameron Crazies were out in droves, packing Cameron Indoor and helping the Blue Devils topple North Carolina. They are now a game out of a double bye in the ACC Tournament. The lore of the Tobacco Road rivalry isn't lost on the players who will get their first taste of it Thursday. But for now, that's OK. "They are coming together, and we'll see if they come together at a high enough level to compete at the level we would like to compete at", coach Mike Krzyzewski said Wednesday. "This moment is pretty great right now". This was the last lead North Carolina had in Thursday's game. Justin jackson leads the Tar Heels with 10 points, and six UNC players have scored at least four points, including freshman guard Seventh Woods. Grayson Allen was in foul trouble, and the game devolved without form.
Allen's seventh 3 came on the possession before he fouled out with 1:02 to play. Grayson Allen sank one of his seven three-pointers with five seconds left before the break to give Duke the 40-39 lead.
That momentum carried over into the start of the second half, as Duke went on a 11-4 run to build a 51-43 lead.
"He's a SportsCenter boy tonight", Kennard said. "That's what does. That's Matt Jones".
But Duke tied the game 66-66 on a jumper from Tatum with 9:16 remaining.
The question still looms over all Duke fans.
The Blue Devils have shown improvement in their ball movement on offense during their current winning streak.
Defense seemed to be optional for most of the night, as each team shot above 50 percent, but Duke was able to tighten up down the stretch. Duke also has an absurdly creative student section. "Close to half our practice every day is rebounding".
But in the second half, Tatum was the difference.
For UNC, it was a struggle both on the perimeter and at the free throw line. He's just 2-11 from three in his past three games, but look for the home crowd to energize him as he gets ready for one of his final matchups against the Tar Heels. They are led by senior center Kennedy Meeks who records 9.6 rebounds per game.
"I tried to play free and have fun and just play hard with the guys, and that's what we did", Tatum said.
"Jayson Tatum!" they shouted.
Tatum continued his answers through a wide smile.
A long rebound bounced into the backcourt, but it was the Blue Devils who got it, all but ending the Tar Heels' chances of victory-and leaving them just inches short against Duke yet again.